Millions of viewers all over the world have watched Gill Harbord and Rosemary Shrager transform ‘chavs’ into prim and proper ladies. Since 2005, we have watched scores of foul-mouthed, hard-core boozing, sexually promiscuous, and nicotine addicted ladettes try to reinvent themselves as ladies.
The ladettes are taken to Eggleston Hall finishing school to give them an old-fashioned five-week course in learning how to behave like a traditional lady. They are made to dump their revealing clothes and forced to wear a uniform, and are taught five subject areas that a lady should know. At the end, the most improved is crowned the lady. But what if Greeks created a finishing school where we could send all the unruly daughters, embarrassingly-clad cousins or incomprehensible horiani who persist on talking ‘Grenglish’ – a hybrid language of Greek and English. When will they ever learn to act like a lady, talk like a lady and dress like a lady?
Well, Neos Kosmos took on the challenge to create a Greek finishing school for the alitaki.
Deportment means the manner in which one behaves, so classes in deportment will teach the xenoiasti respect. She will learn basic manners, such as how to eat correctly, how to greet people, how to maintain a respectful conversation and most importantly, to refrain from swearing. But there are some specific examples for Greek ladies that need to be covered in the deportment lessons.
When it comes to clubbing, they will be taught that they are not to get unruly drunk, no smoking, no dancing to Yolanda or any other trashy ’90s club classic hits, no pashing or public displays of affection of any kind and definitely no dancing on the bar, even if you are at a Greek night and the song warrants it. At sports games, there will be no yelling, no insulting the losing team, no painting of faces, no blowing of vuvuzelas, and especially no letting off flares. When at someone’s house for dinner, she will be taught that at all times she is to use a knife and fork – even if it is a barbecue, to not rip meat off the arni on the souvla even if it is crispy and dripping in succulent fat. She will be taught the correct way to use a napkin, never to be used as a tissue or lipstick remover.
Most Greek women have unfortunately inherited a way of speaking English with an undertone of a Greek accent. Because of the overuse of Greek terms in their everyday vocabulary, and the use of Greek and English words morphed together – the term ‘Grenglish’ has been coined. The athrostomi will be taught that overuse of the word “rizili” just isn’t acceptable.
The first lesson will be that there is no such word as “youse”, it is just you. The word malakies will forever be stripped from her vocabulary if she ever wants to be treated like a lady. And “hey re”, “hey youse” and “mori” are never be used to get someone’s attention; neither is a nod of the head upwards. The girls will be taught how to speak proper English and not answer a person telling quite an unbelievable story with either “are you serial?”, “youse are joking me” or “Oh My God!” and will be taught to simply say “what a fantastic story, George. I will be sure to pass it on to my friends. That is, of course, if you don’t mind”.
Personal grooming is high on the radar to change the tsapatsoula into the lady we know she can be. And all you need to do is teach her less is more; that means make-up, hairspray and cheap perfume. No one wants to smell Red Door or Sunflowers ever again. To begin with, hair. We live in era where products for making hair look healthy and shiny and to emphasise curls naturally are readily available. And while the Greek ladettes mastered the crunchy curl look in the ’80s and ’90s, they have taken the hair-straightening trend to the extreme in the ’00s and ’10s. In these classes, the ladies will be taught that the GHD is your friend and it can be used in such a way to create soft natural flowing hair. Unless you are doing an up-do for a wedding or a special event, there really is no reason to have that huge can of Silhouette.
Make-up should be kept to a minimum. Starting with foundation, you should pick a colour that looks like your own skin colour and not one that makes you look like an oompaloompa. Also, you will learn not to over do it with eye make up, eyeliner (you are not Cleopatra) and lipstick. Remember, the lip pencil should always match the lip colour. Not dark pencil with a light pink. And nail art. You don’t need to be a teacher of a finishing school to know that having fake nails pierced really isn’t a good look.
Exposed underwear of any kind should never be tolerated, especially g-strings. What may be acceptable on an island holiday in Mykonos when you are in your teens is not on a wintery Melbourne day in your fifties. You will be taught once and for all that tights are not pants. I repeat, NOT pants. You will be taught how to dress to match your figure. Now, we are all for celebrating women in all their glory, but there is no excuse for wearing an outfit that leaves nothing to the imagination. And spandex should only be worn if you are a member of a ’70s glam band. Shoes should be appropriate and match the outfit. If you can’t walk in high heels, either learn to or (this will blow your mind) don’t wear them. Women should wear shoes to showcase their long calves, so a small heel is appropriate. And thongs are not to be worn, not even to the corner deli.
In this course, the anikokirefti will learn the wonders of Greek cookery, how to host perfect dinner parties and how to create delicious and nutritious food. The course will be taught by their mothers, grandmothers and aunties; the only way to learn traditional Greek cookery is to be taught by the hands that feed them. They will be taught that going to Subway for a healthy lunch alternative isn’t on. Nor is eating anywhere you can drive-thru to get your dinner.